It’s been almost a year since Boeing fired CEO Dennis Muilenburg over his handling of the 737 MAX crisis, but now he’s found a new role in the manufacturing industry — as an investor and adviser at a company building self-driving electric tractors.
California-based Monarch Tractor says Muilenburg, who grew up on a farm in Iowa and served as a Boeing engineer and executive for more than 30 years, will bring his experience in the aerospace world to agricultural technology.
The company unveiled its “driver optional” tractor just last week. The electric vehicle is designed to perform pre-programmed tasks in farm fields, but also will be capable of being driven either remotely or in the cab. The first tractors are due to be shipped in the fall of 2021, at a starting price of $50,000.
In the wake of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s ouster, lawmakers and union leaders said they hoped the leadership change would help the aerospace giant deal with the repercussions of two catastrophically fatal accidents involving 737 MAX airplanes and win back the public’s confidence.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s departure sends a message that the troubled company is going back to basics. But in this case, the basics have less to do with nuts and bolts, and more to do with information.
Although the roots of that problem predate Muilenburg’s ascension to the CEO role in 2015, Boeing’s board of directors had clearly lost patience with the way he handled efforts to recover from the crisis. That has to do with information technology, as well as plain old information.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg stuck to his positions on the safety of the 737 MAX airplane today during a contentious annual shareholder meeting and news conference in Chicago.
Muilenburg took questions in a face-to-face public forum for the first time since last month’s grounding of the 737 MAX due to concerns raised by two catastrophically fatal crashes last October and this March.
At one point, a reporter asked Muilenburg whether he’d resign.
“My clear intent is to continue to lead on the front of safety and quality and integrity,” he replied. “That’s who we are as a company.”
Muilenburg said that he’s been talking with factory workers in Renton, Wash., and with Boeing test pilots over the past few weeks.
“To the core of our people, they care about this business and the safety of our airplanes,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on.”
Boeing’s third-quarter financial results exceeded expectations, leading the company to raise its outlook for the full year — and leading investors to bid up Boeing’s share price.
Adjusted earnings per share amounted to $3.58, which was nearly 4 percent higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate and 37 percent higher than the year-ago figures. Total revenue was $25.1 billion, 4 percent higher than last year’s third quarter.
Boeing updated its guidance for 2018, raising its revenue projection by $1 billion to the range of $98 billion to $100 billion. Projected earnings per share got a similar boost, rising 60 cents to the range of $14.90 to $15.10.
“With growing markets and opportunities ahead, our team remains intensely focused on growth, innovation and accelerating productivity improvement to fuel our investments in the future,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said today during a conference call with reporters and analysts.
On the plus side, Boeing pointed to higher-than-expected margins on 787 Dreamliner jet sales and strong operating performance on commercial aircraft production programs. The company also scored a hat trick for defense contracts, winning the Air Force’s go-ahead to build T-X training jets and MH-139 helicopters, as well as the Navy’s nod for MQ-25 drone tankers.
Boeing took a $691 million charge to cover investments related to those contracts, which was partially offset by the $412 million benefit of a tax audit settlement.
Muilenburg said Boeing was making progress on supply-chain snags that resulted in a logjam of unfinished 737 jets at its Renton factory this summer. “We’re continuing to ramp up on our recovery plan,” he said.
A decade from now, Boeing will still be primarily known as an airplane company, the company’s CEO says. But some of the things we’ll call airplanes might be what we’d call rocket ships today. And whatever you call them, Boeing will make them.
That’s the vision laid out today at the GeekWire Summit by Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s CEO, president and chairman. Rather than seeing a sharp division between the world of atmospheric flight and the world of rocket launches, Muilenburg sees a continuum that stretches from personal-sized air taxis to traditional aircraft to hypersonic transports to a whole family of Boeing-built commercial spacecraft.
“Within a decade, you’re going to see low-Earth-orbit space travel become much more commonplace,” he told me. “Not only going to the International Space Station, as we will today, but also other destinations in space. Space tourism, space factories … that whole ecosystem is evolving, and we’ll be deeply involved in the transportation system that will enable access.”
Dennis Muilenburg is leading Boeing into a second century of innovation with dreams of hypersonic flight, self-flying planes and journeys to Mars. But to lead the way, the 102-year-old company’s CEO, chairman and president turns to the values he learned from his dad growing up on a farm in northwest Iowa.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg predicts that the number of space destinations will grow from one — the International Space Station — to 10 or 12 over the next couple of decades, creating an “economically viable marketplace” in Earth orbit.
And he sees Boeing being in the thick of it.
Tonight Muilenburg sketched out a vision of space commerce and exploration that extended from low Earth orbit to Mars and beyond. The occasion was the 34th Annual Patterson Transportation Lecture, delivered at the Northwestern University Transportation Center near Boeing’s headquarters in Chicago.
But it was his vision for a commercial transportation system in low Earth orbit that showed how many of Boeing’s interests — ranging from airplane and satellite manufacturing to its work on the Phantom Express space plane and CST-100 Starliner space taxi — come together on the final frontier.